Health Compass hosted a highly successfully webinar in which some of the IPMI market’s leading figures had their say on the impact of COVID and how technology will shape the market of the future. If you missed the Webinar, fill out the form below to watch the replay!
The webinar was chaired by David Eline, CEO of Health Compass, with a panel consisting of:
- Lourdes Peters, CEO of World of America
- Amy MacKay, Director of Sales and Commercial Effectiveness at Cigna Europe
- Alistair Dickman, Group Head Of Business Development at April International Care
- Trevor Keidan, Managing Director of Infinity Financial Solutions
- Rami Rosengarten, VP of Global Business Development & Distribution Channels at PassportCard – DavidShield Group
- David T. Youssef, Managing Director, Middle East, Africa and Asia, VUMI
In a wide ranging discussion the panellists agreed the COVID pandemic had changed the way in which the market would operate both now and in the future with one panellist describing the effect as a “paradigm shift”.
The pandemic has seen the move to remote working and the need for the greater use of technology to enable the market to both distribute its products and manage claims.
It also triggered a significant fall in the number of pre-planned procedures undertaken during the pandemic. As the vaccination programme was rolled out across the world and the number of cases became more manageable, the last quarter of 2020 saw an increase in pre-planned procedures but it has come with a rise in treatment costs which is an increasing concern to the market. It also prompted a warning that covers may need to adapt if they are to provide the necessary cover for members as treatment costs continue to rise.
The panel discussed the impact of technology with the general view that the implementation of new processes was overdue and that the market needed to shed its reputation of lagging behind the rest of the financial services sector when it came to the use of technology and process reform.
There was a belief that technology can remove many of the repetitive back office tasks which will allow the underwriters and intermediaries to concentrate in their core skills and enhance customer service.
The increased amount of data and the growing number of products had created a complexity which required the impartiality and expertise of the intermediary more than ever to deliver the right product to the clients. It came with a warning that there needed to be a balance struck. A move towards a system of robo-advice would see the industry failing its clients added one panellist.
“We need to work to demonstrate the real value of advice,” one panellist explained. “Only then can we hope to tailor products to fit the client’s best needs.”
“Even if we move to a more digital driven environment the broker will remain the human face of the process,” added another. “However, the biggest challenge maybe the inability of the broker to adapt to the changes we will see in the future.”
Customers are likely to be the key driver of the future changes with the client set to demand the industry allows them to use technology in the way they are used to operating in other areas of their lives.
There was a clear view on the panel that brokers will require the support of the underwriters in order to grow and thrive in the future market.
This is likely to see the greater use of broker partnerships with insurers already examining how those partnerships will best work.
“Insurers have to be more open minded to partnerships,” warned one underwriter on the panel. “We have to redefine the value propositions for the broker and client alike.”
The changing regulatory landscape is set to challenge the market and its ability to enhance the services provided to the client as firms are required to devote ever more time and resources to meet the needs of the regulator. This has become a particular issue for those who were undertaking cross border business.
Overall the panel believed that there has been a shift in the market and a new response will be required.
“There has to be a meeting of minds”, said one panellist. “We are living in a brand new world and we are still, as an industry, trying to find our footing. You have to understand what it is you want to deliver and how that needs to be delivered. Technology can provide the tools to support the delivery of our products but there needs to be a more fundamental shift in the way IPMI is viewed.
“It should be viewed as a long term purchase and one that delivers benefits over a period of time.”